Archenemies was Unrivalled Entertainment!


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Hello, hello! I am incredibly psyched to be back talking about Marissa Meyer’s take on superheroes again– so much so, I’ve got back into costume. Introducing the Marvellous Monkey! Up, up and away!

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I’ll admit, this did have a slower start than Renegades, BUT it picked up pretty quickly and leapt back into the action. Pacing ended up being one of the book’s strong suits- taking the tension to new heights and frequently leaving me breathless.

I also enjoyed the return of all those philosophical debates (Moral Philosophy Man to the rescue! 😉). Personally, I felt it dealt with the issue of power in an intelligent and nuanced way. The lines between good and evil seem so blurry in this story that I often can’t decide which person to support!

I genuinely felt for the characters- they have become so real to me that I became completely lost in the world of the book. Yes, it still reminds me of X Men, but no, that’s still not a bad thing. I am simply thoroughly enjoying this take on the post-apocalyptic superhero story, which focuses more on the question of who even is the bad guy anyway?!

The romance was super well developed too- with added tension of Nova and Adrian both going behind each other’s backs and arghhh I really want them to work it out (but have no idea how it’s going to resolve itself!!) That’s why I’ve invited the Magnificent Monkey Baby to give us her thoughts on where it’s going:

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ARCHENEMIES AHHHHH SHMUSH CENTRAL PARADISE!!!! With so many emotional twists and turns!! And okay Adrian has the best power of all time! If you weren’t convinced it was the best, well now there is no way anyone has a biscuit of doubt about it now. I mean he literally is a power genius. He can literally create life!! Wait is he G-d or something cuckoo?? Are we in for an insane shock? Or is this literally just the coolest person to exist! Anyshmudgens, it’s a wonderful fun butterfly ride and I can’t wait for the next book 🙂

Monkey baby rating:

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(And you guys thought I was hyperactive 😉 ) Thank you so much for that Monkey Baby!

My rating: 4/5 bananas

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So what do you think of the books in this series? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

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Hot Stuff: Returning to Winterfell!

Well, we’re back! It feels like forever since we were in the great game- I almost feel out of practice. And though I’ve tried to be a little bit vague, I’m still gonna have to put a *MASSIVE Spoiler Warning* cos I don’t want to ruin a second of this for anyone looking forward to this as much as I was! Personally, I will admit I’m often so conflicted about the newer seasons, because they’re never as good as when it followed the books- AND YET it’s always so entertaining!! There were some low points- particularly in the dialogue- yet there were some definite upsides and the last 3-4 scenes ultimately restored my faith. But we’ll not get ahead of ourselves…

Let’s take a quick detour down south, before we discuss the main meat of the episode. Even if I’m never that excited to go to King’s Landing anymore, I have to say Lena Headey puts in one hell of a performance. On the other hand, even if Cersei says Euron is not boring, I’m afraid that’s exactly what he is. He’s diverged so far from his book counterpart that there’s really nothing left that’s interesting about him. Actually, thank goodness for Theon (never thought I’d say that), cos his rescue saved those scenes from feeling interminably dull.

I will say that there are many, many moments that feel fanfic-y. I don’t believe for a second that the dragon scene will go down like that in the books. Buuut at the same time, it also made my heart swoop out of my chest. I mean, who doesn’t love watching dragons fly? (fools, I tell you, fools!) And that knowing look from the dragon was a nice touch 😉

The emotional heart of the episode revolved around Samwell’s scenes. Not only did he find out what happened to his family, but he also had to tell Jon the truth. And wow, I don’t think they could have done that scene any better. What I especially liked was how it followed the Tarly reveal and Sam pointing out that Dany would never give up her throne for her people. It was a nice touch and pretty much explains why I’ve gone off the character.

Which I guess is why if it comes to a proper Sansa vs Dany fight, I’d be on #TeamSansa all the way. What can I say? The girl speaks sense. And yes, I see it as a logical progression of her character. At the same time, I’m not entirely sold on the Stark camaraderie OR the incessant squabbling. It feels less like political manoeuvring at this stage and more pointless drama- especially when you consider what they’re up against- which is brought into focus by the end of the episode. And yeah, that ending was *s-p-o-o-k-y* and that JUMPSCARE freaked me out! What a horrific reminder of what they’re all fighting.

There were so many reunions in the episode, I don’t know if I can go through them all. The Jon/Arya scene was pretty close to what I’ve wanted since season 1- though weirdly I think I preferred Sansa/Jon, Sansa/Arya and Sansa/Tyrion (basically Sansa is the queen of reunions for a range of reasons). Even more strangely, my favourite reunion of the episode had to be Jaime’s little *surprise* when he finally arrived at Winterfell. Can’t wait to see where that goes!

And that’s all I have for this first episode. It’s not the best season opener I’ve ever seen- I guess cos there weren’t so many shocking death scenes… hey, I don’t watch this show for the romance 😉. Because of that though, I still have time to do some death predictions. Here’s all the people I think will die:

Yeah, I think we’re getting cleganebowl and I’ve put both Dany and Jon on there to be safe- although I think Dany is more likely to kick the bucket.

Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone! And what did you think of the first episode? Disappointed or excited? Hit me up in the comments!

No Word of a Lie: Why I Not-So-Secretly Loved Truly Devious!

I’m honestly so excited to do this review today- but first I have to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU again to the lovely Jill Jemmett, who ever very kindly hosted a giveaway for getting 1000 followers! She’s an amazing book blogger with a whole host bookish content, from lists to book reviews, and I highly recommend checking her out!

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Now let’s crack this case (*ahem* book) wide open! Set in a boarding school, this is the story of Stevie Bell trying to uncover a cold case murder mystery. With this intriguing location, an entertaining plot and a colourful cast of characters, Maureen Johnson enters into a thrilling start to a series.

Though I was initially disappointed with Dotty in the opening, I was soon gripped by Stevie’s more compelling voice. Full of charm and humour this true crime YA story more than gets under your skin. When (as the blurb suggests) the murderer re-enters the crime scene decades later, the *creep factor* intensifies.

I really liked the intersection of these two mysteries. Plus, not only was there good anxiety rep here, but it also added to the story, amping up the tension significantly. Because of Stevie’s anxiety, the reader is left wondering who-what-where-when-why and scrambling for answers in the dark. Time and again, the narrative sends you of in (mis)direction, only to about turn and take you down another path. It made for an on-the-edge-of-your-seat experience!

There was an absolute addictive quality to Truly Devious for sure. Just so you know, though, *there is a massive cliffhanger*. Personally, since I knew this was a series going in, I figured as much before I started and didn’t expect to get many/all of the answers- but I will admit I STILL WANT MORE!!!! I think for that reason I’m gonna hold off getting the sequel until it’s closer to the third book’s release date- cos I’m already dying from the wait!

Other than that, the only downside of this book was the cartoonish politics (and you know my feelings about politics shoehorned into fiction anyway). Besides that, everything from the romance to the mini-mystery of this book to the leads for the sequel were killer!

4½/5 bananas

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Very excited to see where this goes, in the meantime, I’ll be hunting for clues…

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! (also *lalalala* not listening if you want to talk about the second one 😉)

Wicked King was SO COOL!

wicked kingOh wow it was great to be back in this world and with these characters. Jude was a *total* badass in this book; Cardan had even more swagger than in Cruel Prince. And her fractious relationship with Cardan was *everything*! There was so much tension between them and that rippled out into the rest of the narrative. I was completely won over by their romance in this book- forgive me if I squeal, cos I am on this ship!!

There were lots of antagonists as well- which didn’t hurt 😉 Tarryn, in particular, was still a self-centred biatch- who openly says that she sees herself as a hero- so good to know nothing’s changed (also called it).

What was really fab though was the way Black expanded the world building in this story. I *loved* the use of the Undersea and its impact on the plot left me gasping. Plus, *hello Severin of Fairfield*- yes, I spotted you there, straight out of The Darkest Part of the Forest (I may have died when Black got all self-referential there 😉)

And, of course, like its predecessor, Wicked King was addictive and impossible to put down (so yeah, blame my lack of notes for the fact this review is a little watered down 😉). I will say that the pace in the first half was a bit slower, however it certainly picked up and the last hundred pages were a whirlwind of emotions. There was a veritable tsunami of *machinations* and *political intrigue*. I am curious- nay, DESPERATE- to see where it goes! I want book 3, like, yesterday!

4½/5 bananas

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And since it’s such chaos in the faerie realm right now, I’ve decided to do everyone a favour and crown myself queen:

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So have you read any of the books in this series? Do you plan to? Did you love them as much as I did? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – April

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Gosh I swear every month feels like three right now. On the *massive plus* side, I did get some brilliant bookish swag courtesy of the lovely Lotte @the Reading Hobbit! Thank you so much to her and if you guys are looking for some great content from someone with excellent taste (especially if you’re a massive fan of the Hobbit like I am 😉 ) then look no further!

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I also thought I’d had a not-so-great reading month and not read much- I guess I did better than I thought 😉

a view from the bridge

A View from the Bridge– well, I felt a little conflicted about this play- cos while it’s well written, it gets inside your head… and I’m not sure that’s such a good thing. Especially since the protagonist was a complete perv and there are some icky elements. A fair amount of that is implied- but, even so, it’s hard to read at times. Still, it gave a surprisingly complex view of immigrating- showing a clash of cultures, the visceral reaction to migration and the element of second generation immigrants “pulling up the ladder” so to speak. Ultimately, the story is one of betrayal- however it does also exemplify a poor community, with people struggling to get work, ergo showing why this conflict exists. Evidently, this gave me some food for thought:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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a curse so dark and lonely

A Curse so Dark and Lonely- there was quite a lot to like about this book. For starters, I liked the toughness of the mc and how her cerebral palsy was treated. Plus, the line that her name, Harper, has “edges” was a brilliant piece of characterisation. And the epic finale was *epic*. The curse was interesting as well- especially since it affected everyone in the kingdom and it was an good take on Beauty and the Beast… but I still couldn’t get to grips with the world. For some reason or other, I didn’t feel like it captured my imagination. Also minor spoilers, there was this random plot point of the mc making up a country, in order to impersonate a princess. As Briana from Pages Unbound pointed out in a great post, there are reasons this can make sense- however, for me, it didn’t make sense to point out the flaw so often (pointing out a flaw doesn’t eliminate it) *and* I thought there should have been consequences for this deception. Some colour was added by Grey- particularly at the end- though I don’t think it was enough for me to carry on with the series.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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poems to live your life by

Poems to live your life by– or one man’s personal favourites. I don’t think all the poems in here are brilliant to be honest. I personally liked 40% of them- and I’d read nearly all the ones I liked before. That said, the illustrations were gorgeous- and this is Chris Riddell’s strength. It makes for a really pretty book and would make a lovely gift. I did think it ended on a wonderful yet nihilistic note- the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth is not necessarily an extract I’d use to conclude a collection of poems to live your life by, but o-kay…

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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josh and hazel's guide to not dating

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating– I’ll be honest, when this started I had no idea how the romance would proceed, cos when it started the couple seemed ill-matched. I also didn’t know what to make of Hazel… actually, I’m still not sure and I’ve finished the book. She’s a little… too weird (and that’s saying something coming from me 😉). The romance didn’t give me butterflies, but it was cute, funny and won me over. Also Winnie the Poodle is the best dog name ever. One important note is that it’s not YA- cos I’ve seen it mistaken that way online.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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the alchemist

Alchemist– I had mixed feelings about this too. While it had some poetic moments, I’d estimate it held about 50% truth, 50% nonsense. There were lines like this:

–          “when you want something all the universe conspires for you to get it”- frankly this is patently untrue- and it often feels like the opposite.

However, there were also some truthful points like these:

–          “They were seeking the treasure without having to live out their destiny”

–          “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure”

Because of these life-affirming and hopeful messages, it makes me not want to critique it too harshly. It also did pick up when the boy meets his love and had some cute elements like the idea true love won’t keep you from your destiny. I also liked the idea (however obvious) that treasure is back where you left it. I did like the positivity of the story- however it also had a massive dose of orientalism that is kinda cringey nowadays.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

The Boy Who Steals Houses was *Just Right*

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but the gushing you’re about to see is all me!*

the boy who steals housesIt wasn’t too big, or too small- it was *perfection*!! In case my title or terrible jokes aren’t enough of a clue, this is actually a modern Goldilocks retelling. I’ve got to say, I’ve never come across its like until now and this makes it practically a dream come true for a reviewer! It’s completely and utterly unique!

Before I picked this up, I was familiar with Cait’s awesome blog @Paper Fury (who isn’t?) had read A Thousand Perfect Notes and obviously *loved* the writing style- which is why I couldn’t wait to pick this up.

After that I knew I simply had to read it. And boy did it deliver the goods! With delightful attention to detail and impressive technique, Cait paints a picture of the perfect family colliding with an intruder. In her signature style, the images are acutely drawn and the characters are brought to life.

Before I get to anything else, I have to say I liked the “before” and “after” element (which, yes, I’ve stolen for my review 😉). I especially appreciated the way it addressed the darkness lurking in his past and how it was effectively built up over time. I thought the representation across the board was expertly handled and allowed this book to be incredibly hard hitting. It was so intense that I was holding my breath for pages at a time. And on top of that, it got better and better as the story progressed!

After I got into the narrative though, I realised it’s not a gloomy view of the world! There is plenty of light that shines through; there are quiet moments that make themselves heard. The story and romance melted my heart with its cuteness. It was funny and sweet and made me *feel all the feels* (I’m not crying, you are!) It’s safe to say, this book snatched up my heart and ran away with it. I can only give it all the bananas in the hopes I might trade it back:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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But just in case it’s a *no deal*, I got all dressed up to even up my odds:

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So have you read this or Cait’s other book? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Bless me: Holy Sister is *Glorious*!

Hallelujah! Holy Sister is here and damn it delivered. *Look upon it in wonder*

Thank you so much to the author who sent me a copy in exchange for review!

The prologue shines, from the pov of an empath, meaning you can feel the intensity from the get-go. And that, my friends, is nothing- because there is so much more emotion to come!

From there the plot goes at breakneck speed, never letting up, dropping bombshell after bombshell. Hell, Holy Sister is jam-packed with action!! Flashing back and forth, from past to present, layer upon layer of intrigue is added. The twists and turns keep coming, the story gains a breathless-pace, until all I had left to say was: wow. Lawrence certainly knows how to write explosive endings- cos this is certainly a fantastic series finale.

It certainly helped that Nona Grey’s characterisation was wicked strong here. I loved the idea that Nona felt the loss of her shadow- it showed the high cost of magic and also gave her something to strive for. What I especially liked was the theme of learning to be a little more human, rather than superhuman, and the journey of a hero to perhaps live beyond their saga. I also appreciated how this arc was presented in contrast to Zole- the characters being two sides of the same coin and yet Nona is learning to embrace her demons, to be imperfect and to rely on others.

Which was wonderful, because this has always been a series about the threads that bind us. Sisterhood and friendship are strong motifs- but sharp characters like Glass cannot be forgotten- pulling the strings from behind the scenes. In a cast of vivid characters, she still manages to shine.

Beyond this, I loved the descriptions and enjoyed the acute aphorisms like “We are never more vulnerable than when we are giving chase”. It was an effortlessly quotable read and the world building felt so real (even if it’s the kind of all-out fantasy you can revel in 😉). I was awed by how complex the magic system was and carried away by the powerful atmosphere. All in all, it can come as no surprise that I gave this:

5/5 bananas

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Oh and I also couldn’t resist getting all dressed up in celebration of this series- although I’m not going to claim my costume is book accurate, I reckon I make a pretty killer nun! 😉

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So what do you think? Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!